A world-class institute of changemakers in the deaf and signing community.
Since 1864, we have been investing in and creating resources for deaf and hard of hearing children, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
Over 50 degree programs, with online and continuing education for personal and professional development.
Innovating solutions to break down barriers, and using science to prove what does and doesn’t work.
We make it easy for you to apply and enter here.
Ready to take the next step toward a college education?
Make lasting memories and grow in ways you never thought possible.
The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Services (OSPRS) congratulates Dr. Lorna Quandt and Ms. Melissa Malzkuhn, principal investigators, on their award from the National Science Foundation in the amount of $849,999. This award is for a project titled New Dimensions of ASL Learning: Implementing and Testing Signing Avatars and Immersive Learning (SAIL 2).
The highly-spatial three-dimensional nature of American Sign Language (ASL) has created a serious barrier to technology-supported ASL instruction. What if ASL learners could access high-quality ASL instruction from native sign language instructors through a virtual reality-based, game-like environment? This project launches from prior work on the NSF-funded Signing Avatars and Immersive Learning (SAIL) project. The SAIL project yielded a working prototype of an immersive sign language learning environment in virtual reality. The current project expands past the prototype stage into a fully-fledged ASL learning experience.
In the new version of SAIL, called SAIL 2, the research team is developing a more complete system where users enter virtual reality and interact with signing avatars (computer-animated virtual humans built from motion capture recordings) who teach users ASL vocabulary. Access to signed language is key to healthy development for many deaf individuals, but it remains a major challenge when access to high-quality ASL instruction is limited by time and resources.
SAIL 2 sets a foundation for greater access to learning ASL, which has the potential for improving the lives of deaf children and adults. The project focuses on developing and testing this entirely novel ASL learning tool and fostering the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in STEM. This work has the potential to substantially advance the fields of virtual reality, ASL instruction, and embodied learning.
Immersive virtual reality is particularly well suited for highly spatial signed languages. The SAIL 2 project leverages head-mounted virtual reality and high-quality signing avatars to create a gamified ASL-learning system. SAIL 2 will be the only ASL learning system in virtual reality that does not require the user to wear specialized gloves or other peripheral devices. The project develops a functioning version of the comprehensive SAIL 2 system, and user testing during the design process guides the details of the development. Key features of the system include sign recognition through hand tracking cameras, corrective feedback, and a gamified experience. Following the design and development of SAIL 2, the research team conducts behavioral research to evaluate the learning outcomes of SAIL 2. Evaluation of specific learning outcomes includes both the understanding of ASL vocabulary and the accuracy of sign production. Because of the embodied nature of signed language, mechanistic measures of the neural substrates of learning, including engagement of the sensorimotor cortices, are obtained through electroencephalography (EEG). The patterns of neural oscillatory activity provide insight into short-term changes in brain activity associated with using SAIL 2. The cognitive neuroscience experiment builds on previous research identifying the neural processes supporting sign language perception, and overall this project extends technological advances in high-fidelity motion capture recordings, avatar creation, and virtual reality.
Details of the award are as follows:
Congratulations to Dr. Quandt and Ms. Malzkuhn!
The Graduate Student Resource Center (GSRC) has recently launched. GSRC is a one-stop center for graduate students to access the resources they need to succeed in their programs, as mentioned in President Cordano’s Welcome Home address. The Center’s offerings include academic support services, career and professional development, well-being resources, and much more! The Center can...
Gallaudet’s presence on the global stage requires a strong marketing team that not only supports growing enrollment, but also elevates the Gallaudet brand and mission. To achieve this, Brandi Rarus, Chief Marketing and Undergraduate Admissions Officer, has expanded and realigned the departments within University Communications and Undergraduate Admissions. Recognizing this growth, Elise Nye, ’94, has...
Gallaudet Technology Services (GTS) is changing how it distributes technology tools to its community at Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center. Each community member will receive a device, such as an iPad, laptop, or smartphone (determined as the best fit for their roles on campus), that they can use for their academic studies or work-related...
Published Articles: 50
For any other media inquiry, please contact:
Gallaudet University is a federally chartered private and premier university for the deaf and hard of hearing since 1864.
Copyright © 2021 Gallaudet University. All rights reserved.
800 Florida Avenue NE Washington, D.C. 20002
Spring 2021 – Dec 12Fall 2021 – May 15